Historic church awarded £40000 grant for renovation work

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St Athernase Church in Leuchars, Fife.

One of the best preserved Romanesque parish churches in Scotland has been given a major funding boost to help pay for an ambitious renovation project.

St Athernase Church in Leuchars, Fife, an A-listed building, will use the £40,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant to carry out essential repairs to roof coverings, external walls, leaded and stained glass windows and to treat wet rot.

Minister the Rev John Duncan said: "It is wonderful news that the National Churches Trust is to give us such a generous grant and we are pleased that it also acknowledges the importance of St Athernase Church at a local and national level.

"I am grateful to the trustees of the Trust for enabling future generations to appreciate the historical jewel we have."

Community activities

The church has been a place of continuous Christian worship for nine hundred years and is the focal point of the conservation area of Leuchars.

Notable memorials are to Robert Carnegie, ambassador for Mary of Guise and her daughter, Mary Queen of Scots. He died in 1565 in Leuchars Castle.

Also commemorated is Sir William Bruce who began the building of Earlshall Castle nearby.

His beautifully carved memorial stone bears both Latin and Scots inscriptions. Having fought at Flodden in his youth, he died aged 98 in 1584.

Once the repair project is complete, the church will be able to hold a range of community activities including Guild meetings, choirs, Sunday School and coffee mornings which currently have to take place in another building adjacent to the church.

In addition local people will have a place of heritage to explore and to bring visitors, and a place to develop new interests and skills themselves.

Safeguarded

Schoolchildren will be able to explore history, community and people in a local context.

Walkers and cyclists on the Fife Coastal path and the Pilgrims' Trail will have a place of interest for rest.

Visitors to North East Fife will have an additional source of history and heritage to explore, enhancing their experience of the region.

St Athernase Church is one of 29 churches and chapels in the UK to benefit from the latest grants.

Broadcaster Huw Edwards, vice-president of the National Churches Trust, the UK church repair and support charity, said: "I'm delighted that the future of St Athernase church is being safeguarded by a £40,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant.

"This funding will help ensure that this historic church, which has been a place of continuous Christian worship for 900 years, can start a major conservation and renovation project and continue welcoming people of all faiths and none for worship and community activities."